Springing Forward is Bad Timing for This Parent!
by David Weinshilboum
To say I’m not a fan of springing forward is akin to saying that Charlie Sheen is not fond of sobriety.
I abhor daylight saving time; Hate it with a capital “H.”
I’m fully aware that many people love this little invention. I’ve heard from about a dozen of them over the past two weeks. I’ll slog into work, caffeinated drink in tow, stubble on my chin. Then I’ll encounter a lively colleague.
“Hi!” they’ll say cheerily. Then they see my dour look, and their face will pucker. “Are you OK?”
Being such a great colleague, I respond by saying, “Mmmflrgf, stupid daylight saving.”
The pucker morphs into astonishment. “Oh, well, I like daylight savings. It’s so wonderful to see the sun when I get home from work.”
For those of you who resemble my colleague, I understand where you’re coming from. Like you, I prefer evenings that remain bright; I too appreciate the energy savings that accompany the time shift. Those benefits, however, don’t outweigh the one big negative.
You see, I have a young child.
Those who contributed to the changing of the clocks — from the avuncular Benjamin Franklin to hippie lawmakers of the 1960s and ‘70s — did not consider how a mere hour could completely gobsmack a child’s circadian rhythms.
Adults’ biological clocks can adjust to an hour shift. My 15-month-old son’s internal clock just doesn’t transition as smoothly.
I know what you’re thinking: “Weinshilboum, we sprang forward. Shouldn’t your kid just get up one hour later?” In theory, this is a seemingly reasonable conclusion. In reality?
The Sunday of spring forwardness, my infant son, Merret, was fine. He got up an hour later. He functioned normally as did his father. Then it was time for his late-afternoon nap. Usually, the nap takes place around 3:45 and lasts until 5:30 p.m. Not surprisingly, Merret’s teensy little biorhythms weren’t ready for sleep at the “new” 3:45. I realized this and waited until 4:15 to put him down.
It didn’t work.
I rocked him in my arms. He made silly sounds. I sang a song to him. He wanted to touch my teeth. I drove him. He contemplated his toes.
I was decidedly not winning.
Finally, around 5:30 p.m. he crashed. Hard. There was no way I could deny him sleep. He was exhausted.
I let him sleep for an hour until my parental warning voice interjected: (imagine the voice of Superman with kryptonite nearby) “Must… wake… baby. Routine… in…. jeopardy!” I frantically tried to rouse the boy. I rubbed his back and cooed at him. He slept. I picked him up and told him that it was “wakey wakey time.” He was a ragdoll. I turned on the TV. He snored. At around 7:30, about fifteen minutes after sunset, Merret woke up. The boy blinked at the artificial lights. He examined the darkness outside. He looked at me, and I could almost see his thoughts: “Dark outside=stay up and have fun!”
So now, two weeks later, you — and by “you” I mean those who have no young children — have completely forgotten about daylight saving time. You can think inane thoughts like, “If Charlie Sheen’s high on Charlie Sheen, why doesn’t he switch to a less volatile and less expensive controlled substance?”
Me? I’m still trapped in daylight saving purgatory because my youngest son’s sleep cycle is still out of whack. Just a couple days ago, Merret decided that 10 p.m. was the perfect time to start dancing. In his crib. Pirouettes and all.
Needless to say, I’m tired. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I have bizarre, sleep-deprived daydreams. I sometimes envision going back in time to change things. Forget about revisiting March 15. I’ve thought more of visiting the year 1784, when Ben Franklin first wrote about this idea of shifting the hours. I’d find him in some quiet little Parisian café, and, before he could pen one word about time changes, I’d snatch his quill and tell him to go fly a kite.